President Barack Obama and daughter Sasha, along with two of Sasha’s friends, board Air Force One as they depart Joint Base Andrews in Washington. President Obama and Sasha are traveling to New York City to meet up with Malia Obama for some father-daughter time
President Barack Obama accompanied by his daughters Sasha and Malia, their friends, and the president’s sister Maya Soetoro-Ng, her husband Konrad Ngwalk, through Central Park
Cindi Leive: Michelle Obama, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kerry Washington: The Important Cause Bringing Three Powerhouse Women Together
First Lady Michelle Obama and actresses Sarah Jessica Parker and Kerry Washington are sitting in the Blue Room at the White House. This trio of female forces, who know one another through their work on the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, aren’t here just to catch up on life. They’re here today to spread a crucial message: This Memorial Day, America’s servicewomen, veterans, and military wives—courageous women—need our help. Over a decade ago, during the height of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, our servicemen and -women were constantly in the public eye, in newspapers, music videos, car commercials. Today, most of the more than 2.5 million men and women who deployed are home safe—but they deserve just as much attention as when they were braving IEDs and insurgents.
During this reentry period, advocates point out, many veterans face hardships (from homelessness and unemployment to post-traumatic stress disorder and the effects of sexual trauma), and we can’t underestimate the support they need. MO: One thing I want to clarify—that every service member, veteran, wants us to remember—is that the vast majority of people returning from service come back completely healthy…. But when we do come across someone who is struggling…we have to develop a culture of open arms and acceptance so that they feel comfortable saying, “I’m a veteran. And by the way, I need little help.” Think about the amount of training the average veteran has received through the military—physical training, project management training, public relations work. Think of an average tour of duty in a foreign land, the money we put into developing that, and then they’re discharged, and what, we let that investment go? Absolutely not. These are some of the best-trained people in our society.
First Lady Michelle Obama participates in the unveiling of the Maya Angelou Forever Stamp, at the Warner Theater in Washington. From left are, Eleanor Traylor, English Professor at Howard University; poet Nikki Giovanni; Mrs. Obama; Postmaster General Megan Brennan; Oprah Winfrey, and artist Ross Rossin
Maya Angelou would have been 87 years old day, and to commemorate her birthday we celebrate everything the author, activist and creative force accomplished in her nearly one century on earth. Though best known for her 1969 memoir I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, which became the first non-fiction bestseller by a Black woman, Angelou’s talents and achievements run deep. She is a Grammy winner (for Best Spoken Word Album in 1994), a filmmaker (Down in the Delta, her directorial debut at the age of 70), was appointed an American Ambassador by the NAACP and President Barack Obama presented her with the 2010 Presidential Medal of Freedom.
President Barack Obama holds up a team jersey as he hosts a ceremony honoring the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx in the East Room at the White House. Minnesota Lynx defeated the Atlanta Dream last October to win their second WNBA title in three years.
Minnesota Lynx women’s basketball player Maya Moore, right, pretends to take notes as President Barack Obama jokes that by now Moore has her own wing in the White House, standing next to teammate Seimone Augustus, during a ceremony honoring the WNBA Champion Minnesota Lynx
Minnesota Lynx women’s basketball player Maya Moore reacts at right as President Barack Obama jokes that by now she has her own wing in the White House
Josh Lederman: Obama Fetes Minnesota Lynx For Wnba Finals Win; Says Team Is A Good Example For His Daughters
President Barack Obama is praising the WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx for setting a good example for his daughters and for girls across the country. Obama is honoring the team’s victory in the WNBA Finals in a White House ceremony. He says when young women play sports, they do better in school. Obama says the Lynx had something to prove when they started the season. He says, quote, “You succeeded.”
Obama commends the team for helping students with reading and raising money for breast cancer research. Obama says he can’t remember how many times star player Maya Moore has been to the White House following victories. He’s joking that she has her own White House wing.
I find quiet time when my soul is fighting off the floods of discouragement.
I then try to quiet my space with music, a seat in the library and music room.
I look up at one of the precious photos of my mother sitting at my piano when she came out to visit me long before she left me here on this earth.
Then I smile and try to remember what songs hymns she was playing that particular time. I feel some peace coming over my body when I think of those songs.
I then look over at a very special photo of my loving brother and see him as he is in his career and remembering how our mother and father worked so hard to make sure that we had the opportunities to grace the halls of some great educational settings. But then I cry a little because I remember how she worked so hard to make that happen for us.
I remember seeing her precious feet so swollen after standing in a family’s kitchen, bathroom, sunroom, pool house, washing, and cleaning and then preparing all of their meals and all of their holiday dinners and parties. And feel the salty tears slowly running down my cheeks as I say, “Thank you God for this beautiful and precious lady, our mother who did all of this for us.
Then I look around and see the many blessings that I have received because she wore those uniforms to conform to the rules of that family’s rules while she knew one day she would not have to do it any longer; but she would not take a penny more or less for that journey to make sure she paved the road so her baby son and daughters could walk down many less rugged roads in the future.
Then I feel my space getting peaceful and more lovely because of the fountain of memories of this phenominal woman who gave so much to her children so that they may dream big dreams; work hard in school; read a lot and learn about how other mothers were trying to do the same for their precious children.
Then my quiet space becomes sweeter and sweeter because of where I chose to sit, be quiet, listen to the whispers of God reminding me of how some of those days were born so that I could sit and give thanks as I journey at the tender age of almost seventy with pride, joy, and thanksgiving.
My tears are streaming with such speed that I do not want them to stop because they remind me of what a precious, beautiful, peaceful, hardworking, and loving mother and father I had in my life.
So these distractions moving around our great President and First Lady remind me daily of how President Obama must have his quiet time and allow the tears to flow while he remembers how hard his precious mother worked to raise, and exposed all of her goodness to Maya and PBO.
What loving and Phenomenal Mothers we all had and maybe some still do in our space; well
give them a hug, if they are still with you;
give them a call;
give them a hand written note on some lovely stationery
give them a lovely walk downtown and have a nice quiet lunch;
give them a lovely journey with some of the most lovely and fun notes about how they spent time with you;
And most of all, just give them a moment where you tell them how much you appreciate their worn out shoes to walk places where others did not dare walk for you. Just take the time, if it is possible to reach out and do one of these or one of your own choosing.
I wish I had all of the thoughts my precious mother, especially, thought as she walked to that job for all those years just to take care of her dear children. ‘Our Phenomenal Mothers.’
I went on line and found a lovely place where one can personally create a lovely garden flag with your personal touch on it in remembrance of your mother. I did one for our mother. Her favorite colors, and it will be placed in the lovely and special rose that I found and purchased today. I am so elated to have it arrive before my brother makes his next trip out here; if he can get away from his very, very important position, it will be a lovely moment for both of us. What a time we will have to share.
I know PBO does these types of loving acts of love with his sister since their mother is no longer with him. What moments those have to be for them.
Let us keep each other in our beautiful places of goodness as we go into another week. We were blessed with a wonderful week with our President, First Lady, and VPOTUS and SLOTUS. Thank you Chips and TOD Family. This place is such a sweet and respectful haven of knowledge, and great support for PBO.
First Lady Michelle Obama’s remarks at the Memorial Service for Dr Maya Angelou
Thank you so much. (Applause.) My heart is so full. My heart is so full. Bebe — Oprah, why did you do that? Just why did you put me after this? (Laughter.)
To the family, Guy, to all of you; to the friends; President Clinton; Oprah; my mother, Cicely Tyson; Ambassador Young — let me just share something with you. My mother, Marian Robinson, never cares about anything I do. (Laughter.) But when Dr. Maya Angelou passed, she said, you’re going, aren’t you? I said, well, Mom, I’m not really sure, I have to check with my schedule. She said, you are going, right? (Laughter.) I said, well, I’m going to get back to you but I have to check with the people, figure it out. I came back up to her room when I found out that I was scheduled to go, and she said, that’s good, now I’m happy. (Laughter.)
It is such a profound honor, truly, a profound honor, to be here today on behalf of myself and my husband as we celebrate one of the greatest spirits our world has ever known, our dear friend, Dr. Maya Angelou.
In the Book of Psalms it reads: “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the Earth.” What a perfect description of Maya Angelou, and the gift she gave to her family and to all who loved her.
She taught us that we are each wonderfully made, intricately woven, and put on this Earth for a purpose far greater than we could ever imagine. And when I think about Maya Angelou, I think about the affirming power of her words.
The first time I read “Phenomenal Woman”, I was struck by how she celebrated black women’s beauty like no one had ever dared to before. (Applause.) Our curves, our stride, our strength, our grace. Her words were clever and sassy; they were powerful and sexual and boastful. And in that one singular poem, Maya Angelou spoke to the essence of black women, but she also graced us with an anthem for all women –- a call for all of us to embrace our God-given beauty.
And, oh, how desperately black girls needed that message. As a young woman, I needed that message. As a child, my first doll was Malibu Barbie. (Laughter.) That was the standard for perfection. That was what the world told me to aspire to. But then I discovered Maya Angelou, and her words lifted me right out of my own little head.
Her message was very simple. She told us that our worth has nothing to do with what the world might say. Instead, she said, “Each of us comes from the creator trailing wisps of glory.” She reminded us that we must each find our own voice, decide our own value, and then announce it to the world with all the pride and joy that is our birthright as members of the human race.
Dr. Angelou’s words sustained me on every step of my journey –- through lonely moments in ivy-covered classrooms and colorless skyscrapers; through blissful moments mothering two splendid baby girls; through long years on the campaign trail where, at times, my very womanhood was dissected and questioned. For me, that was the power of Maya Angelou’s words –- words so powerful that they carried a little black girl from the South Side of Chicago all the way to the White House. (Applause.)
And today, as First Lady, whenever the term “authentic” is used to describe me, I take it as a tremendous compliment, because I know that I am following in the footsteps of great women like Maya Angelou. But really, I’m just a beginner — I am baby-authentic. (Laughter.) Maya Angelou, now she was the original, she was the master. For at a time when there were such stifling constraints on how black women could exist in the world, she serenely disregarded all the rules with fiercely passionate, unapologetic self. She was comfortable in every last inch of her glorious brown skin.
But for Dr. Angelou, her own transition was never enough. You see, she didn’t just want to be phenomenal herself, she wanted all of us to be phenomenal right alongside her. (Applause.) So that’s what she did throughout her lifetime -– she gathered so many of us under her wing. I wish I was a daughter, but I was right under that wing sharing her wisdom, her genius, and her boundless love.
I first came into her presence in 2008, when she spoke at a campaign rally here in North Carolina. At that point, she was in a wheelchair, hooked up to an oxygen tank to help her breathe. But let me tell you, she rolled up like she owned the place. (Laughter.) She took the stage, as she always did, like she’d been born there. And I was so completely awed and overwhelmed by her presence I could barely concentrate on what she was saying to me.
But while I don’t remember her exact words, I do remember exactly how she made me feel. (Applause.) She made me feel like I owned the place, too. She made me feel like I had been born on that stage right next to her. And I remember thinking to myself, “Maya Angelou knows who I am, and she’s rooting for me. So, now I’m good. I can do this. I can do this.” (Applause.)
And that’s really true for us all, because in so many ways, Maya Angelou knew us. She knew our hope, our pain, our ambition, our fear, our anger, our shame. And she assured us that despite it all –- in fact, because of it all -– we were good. And in doing so, she paved the way for me and Oprah and so many others just to be our good, old, black-woman selves. (Applause.)
She showed us that eventually, if we stayed true to who we are, then the world would embrace us. (Applause.) And she did this not just for black women, but for all women, for all human beings. She taught us all that it is okay to be your regular old self, whatever that is –- your poor self, your broken self, your brilliant, bold, phenomenal self.
Listen to yourself and in that quietude you might hear the voice of God.
That was Maya Angelou’s reach. She touched me. She touched all of you. She touched people all across the globe, including a young white woman from Kansas who named her daughter after Maya, and raised her son to be the first black President of the United States. (Applause.)
So when I heard that Dr. Angelou had passed, while I felt a deep sense of loss, I also felt a profound sense of peace. Because there is no question that Maya Angelou will always be with us, because there was something truly divine about Maya. I know that now, as always, she is right where she belongs.
May her memory be a blessing to us all. Thank you. God bless. (Applause.)